Project-based learning is a paradox. It can be the platform for deep immersion in interesting problems or topics, but it can also be wildly unwieldy to conduct. Sometimes depth is sacrificed for the sake of manageability, and the result falls short of the profound learning you’d hoped students would experience. With the mix of learners and the resource limitations in a typical classroom (namely, time), what are the secret ingredients for designing meaningful and manageable project-based learning? How do you align tasks to learning targets? What are the processes and routines that release responsibility to students to work autonomously on a project over time? How is assessment different when students work in groups? How have you partnered with other teachers or organizations to create interdisciplinary units, and what are the keys to keep such partnerships running smoothly? And, finally, why is project-based learning worth doing? How does it positively disrupt traditional templates for teaching and learning?
ASCD Express is looking for short, 600–1,000-word essays on the theme “Managing Messy Learning.” Guidelines for submissions are here; please send us your submissions to email@example.com by June 1, 2014.